Celtics

About last night: Warriors were down, but they're never out

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About last night: Warriors were down, but they're never out

WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

Forsberg: Championship poise 

It’s a testament to how damn good the Golden State Warriors are that, even when they’re down 15 at halftime without Kevin Durant, you still sorta figure they’re going to win the game. 

Portland made them work, and the Curry Brothers showdown was fun to watch, but, man, the Warriors just have so much experience and it really showed in games like this. The way the Warriors locked down on defense late in the game is just a reminder of how they can impose their will whenever they feel like ratcheting it up.

We know the whole “series doesn’t start until the road team wins a game” theory but really feels like the Blazers let one get away and it might have been their only hope of making things interesting. 

Most teams would be in a tough spot if one of their stars was sidelined. Now we kinda want to see if the Warriors can win the whole thing without Kevin Durant. Would be a fitting end if Durant elects to take his talents to New York this summer.

BlakelyWarriors unleash their (Draymond) Green monster 

As much as we gush over Steph Curry’s long-range missile attack on a nightly basis when it comes to Golden State, Game 2 was a reminder of why Draymond Green remains the heart and soul of this basketball juggernaut. 

His ability to put his imprint on every facet of the game that mattered most, was a reminder of how this team began its run and how thus far this year, there’s no let-up in sight even with their best scorer, Kevin Durant (calf), likely to miss the entire series with Portland. 

Green’s near triple-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, also included him racking up five blocked shots which speaks to his statistical significance. But more than anything, he played with an infectious edge that helped propel the Warriors to the comeback win and a 2-0 series lead. So go ahead, ooh and ahh over Curry’s 37 points and four made 3’s or the steal by Andre Iguodala in the closing seconds.

But this victory was spearheaded by Green and his do-anything-to-win brand of basketball. 

SO... THAT HAPPENED


NUMBER OF NOTE

0/9 -- Combined shooting performance from C.J. McCollum (0/6) and Damian Lillard (0/3) over the final 7:40 of the game, as Golden State completed a comeback from a 15-point halftime deficit.

THEY SAID IT

"We can't sit and look over our shoulder and say, 'Hey, man, when is K going to be back?' We just got to play with whatever we got. We got to play and give him an opportunity to get back, and I think that's what really falls on our shoulders."
-- Draymond Green on Kevin Durant, who has already been ruled out of Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals

THURSDAY'S SCOREBOARD

  • Warriors 114, Trail Blazers 111 (GS leads series 2-0)

WHAT WE'LL BE WATCHING

Forsberg: I’ll tell you what we’re not watching 

It’s insane that the Bruins will be the third Boston team to play for a title in the past eight months. But it also sorta accentuates that the Celtics are the only one of the Boston big four not to play for a title this year. And, of all the teams, they might have had the most championship hype going into the year.

Brad Stevens always talks about how, with the Celtics, there’s always only one ultimate goal and the 17 banners hanging above the Garden are a reminder that anything less is ultimately coming up short. The successes of the other local squads won’t put any sort of pressure on the Celtics to make moves to put them in title contention — Danny Ainge and his staff will be seeking those sort of moves regardless — but with so much winning going on around them, it only further spotlights how disappointing the Green’s 2018-19 season was.

Blakely: The Kawhi Leonard conundrum 

The good news is everyone on the Toronto Raptors accepts the fact that Kawhi Leonard is their best scorer. The problem? When he goes to the bench, they seem to still be looking for him to score.

So the alternative in Game 1 was to play him 40-plus minutes, which totally blew up in the Raptors’ face in the fourth quarter when Leonard played nearly 10 minutes but did not make a single shot and scored just two points while finishing the night with 31. 

Too much Kawhi through quarters 1-3 is a recipe for disaster, but the Raptors don’t have much of a choice because their role players disappear when he heads to the bench while the Bucks’ backups start ballin’ out whenever Giannis Antetokounmpo needs a breather.

Toronto has to figure out a way to keep the ship steady when Leonard isn’t on the floor. Otherwise, this series will be yet another one in which the Bucks make quick work of their foe and move on to the next challenge, which for them at this point is a trip to the NBA Finals.  

FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE

  • Raptors at Bucks, Game 2 (MIL leads series 1-0) -- 8:30pm, TNT

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Bulpett: Celtics and Al Horford have discussed contract extension

Bulpett: Celtics and Al Horford have discussed contract extension

Now that Anthony Davis is off the market, the next item on the Celtics' offseason to-do list is Al Horford's player option. By this upcoming Tuesday (6/18), Horford must decide whether to pick up his $30.1 million option to return to the Celtics for at least one more season or opt-out and hit free agency. 

The deadline can be moved back to June 29 at the latest if the both Horford and the Celtics agree, and Adam Himmelsbach reported Saturday that Horford remains undecided on his player option, so it's possible we have to wait to get a resolution to the 33-year-old's contract situation. 

However, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, Horford and the Celtics have discussed a new contract if the big man opts out at a lower salary figure but with more years on the deal. 

Horford has until Tuesday to opt in to $30,123,015 for next season, but the sides have been discussing a plan where he comes in at a lower number next season and gets two more years tacked on in a new deal. It’s not known whether the way things have played out over the last couple of weeks will have an effect on Horford’s outlook.

What Bulpett might mean in the last sentence there is the 'eroding' belief that Kyrie Irving will re-sign with the Celtics, and Boston's choice to hold on to their young stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in Anthony Davis trade discussions. 

There is little question to whether Horford can still contribute to this Celtics team, with or without Irving, but at 33 he doesn't really fit the same contention window at Tatum and Brown would. If Horford wants to contend during the latter part of his career, he could opt in and request a trade or opt out and sign elsewhere. Danny Ainge considers Horford a priority for the Celtics this offseason, so the age factor might not matter for either party here. 

Davis and Irving were the biggest variables for the Celtics this summer, but Horford's situation will also have a major impact on the direction of this team. As is the theme with the 2019 NBA offseason, nothing is certain. 

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Reports: Celtics were open to including Jayson Tatum in Anthony Davis trade

Reports: Celtics were open to including Jayson Tatum in Anthony Davis trade

Not long after the news broke on the Pelicans agreeing to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, three first round picks and two pick swaps, Marc Stein reported that the Celtics refused to include Jayson Tatum in a potential trade package. This opened the door for LA to get LeBron James a legitimate running mate and form its strongest roster since the days of Kobe Bryant. 

It was understandable why the Celtics would refuse to include Tatum in a deal. For one thing, the team's belief in Kyrie Irving re-signing has reportedly 'eroded,' and Rich Paul had stated publicly that Davis would leave Boston next summer.  

But according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Celtics weren't completely against including Tatum in a trade.

But in the current situation, that same source indicated that, contrary to reports, the Celts weren’t entirely closed to the idea of including Jayson Tatum in the deal, but that there wouldn’t have been much else included.

He then goes on to explain that when the Lakers offered a deal including three young players and a multitude of first round picks for Davis, the Celtics would in no way be willing to mortgage their future for a likely one-year rental. 

The notion of the Celtics' reluctance to offer a package with Tatum and a number of draft picks was reiterated by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne on Sunday as well. 

The Boston Celtics were serious about trading for Davis, as well. They were willing to discuss young, talented players such as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, according to sources close to the negotiations. But the Celtics were never going to give up as much as the Lakers.

During ESPN's NBA Mock Draft special earlier this week, Adrian Wojnarowski said, "If the Lakers are drafting at No. 4 on draft night, they're in trouble because that means they didn't make an Anthony Davis trade. Right now, they are not a frontrunner or even really a major consideration among any of the elite free agents."

Based on these reports, it doesn't seem like Boston had a good chance at Davis while the uncertainty of Irving loomed. The Lakers had to make this deal, and they paid the price to get a top-five player in the world. Now we'll see how the Celtics rebound and try to get their contender status back if Irving does in fact leave. 

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